One of the most renowned Greek Metal acts is back ravaging and bringing destruction with their seventh full-length album called “Communion”. How do they manage to fulfill their evil intentions? Well, among the ingredients which are used one can find Death Metal with melodic accents, symphonic arrangements as well as lyrical themes concerning mostly mythology and fantasy. It takes though such an experienced chef as SEPTICFLESH (I guess most of you have already noticed this slight change in the band's name) in order to make an unforgettable and exquisite dish out of this stuff. And indeed, there is not even a single doubt appearing in my mind about the fact, that even this time the chef lives up to his fans' highest expectations.
Starting with “Lovecraft's Death” the band enslaves the listener by brutal, yet precise riffing and powerful drum work accompanied by orchestral parts. These last ones (not only in this song) deserve as a matter of fact a separate paragraph in this review. I think it will not be considered as an exaggeration if I state, that the orchestrations on “Communion” are among the best one could hear during a couple of recent years. Listening to these fragments makes you simply sit on the edge of your chair and imagine majestic landscapes and scenes, which would fit like a glove to a Hollywood epic motion picture. The one who is responsible in SEPTICFLESH for classical arrangements is Chris Antoniou and he should really be praised for making it the way which brings to mind these film music associations.
Another thing, which should be emphasized as regards such influences is the fact, that they are being incorporated not by means of computer or synthesizer samples but thanks to the band's cooperation with a real orchestra and a choir from the capital of Czech Republic, Prague. It can be added in passing, that this is not the first time when Prague classical musicians are being involved in making of a Metal album (take THERION as an example, though, frankly speaking I am uncertain whether Swedes and Greeks got in touch with the same musicians).
Setting focus on the album tracks again, we can notice that as soon as the storm in “Lovecraft's Death” fades away, very catchy guitar riffs grab one's attention in its follower, titled “Anubis”, and lead us to a more raw Death-oriented part of the track, which after a moment transcends into one of the best choruses on the whole release. This record focusing on an Egyptian deity has become my favorite track already after the first session with “Communion” and most probably no other word can describe this composition as exactly as the word “awesome” does.
What appears further on the disc is the title effort, which could easily be labeled as a music incarnation of fury and chaos where the symphonic elements play a crucial role in invoking this track's utter dramaturgy. Quite similar, or perhaps even more ferocious spirit characterizes the following two songs: “Babel's Gate” and “We, The Gods”. Despite the very good music level of the above-mentioned tracks, I find the second part of the CD somewhat more interesting mainly for the reason of better guitar melodies and compositions as a whole. These tracks constitute in fact a sort of contrast in comparison to the first five records (apart from “Anubis”) as their load of frenzy and cruelty is smaller. Moreover, some of them like for instance, “Sangreal” or “Narcissus”, direct my thoughts immediately towards the already mentioned group THERION. These are merely associations, though, for the Greek ensemble never let me forget, that they have their own identity and way of bringing their visions into exceptional music. The seventh composition on “Communion” exemplifies it perfectly. “Persepolis” includes certain symphonic arrangements, which sound as if they were taken directly from a historical film created a long time ago by some American film makers. Not only is such impression caused by the music itself but also by the lyrics referring to an ancient settlement being situated in nowadays Iran.
Talking of which, the lyrical themes range from mythology to the famous writer H.P. Lovecraft and deal even with musicians' personal life experiences. The world of myth and fantasy prevails though, and it will not be out of place to say, that these motives add to SEPTICFLESH's music's sublimity and epic feeling.
To sum it up, SEPTICFLESH have produced an effort, which might in future be considered as their best one ever, an effort, which as well might pretend to be one of the best releases in the year 2008. This band show an unusual ability to find a perfect balance between musical violence and finesse not being pretentious or making the listener bored even for a single moment. If only you are into Metal combined with classical music forget for a moment about DIMMU BORGIR or THERION and get SEPTICFLESH's “Communion”, it is definitely worth it.
(Online May 16, 2008)